Why Verizon Acquired AOL For $4.4 Billion

Read original story on: Re/code

Verizon, the second biggest telecom company in the States, has acquired mass media conglomerate AOL for a whopping $4.4 billon. Verizon is expecting the deal to be close by the end of summer, which will hopefully help with its “video and OTT strategy”.

AOL currently consists of two main business operations: the digital media properties that includes sites like Huffington Post and TechCrunch, and the ad tech platform that it has been rapidly developing in recent years. Given that AOL is already in talks with German media company Axel Springer to spin off its Huffington Post content unit, it is safe to conclude that AOL’s ad tech platform, especially video ad units, are what Verizon is really after.

With this acquisition, Verizon officially enters the media and ad tech sectors, which would give it a triple-screen opportunity to reach consumers across desktop, mobile, and television, helping the mobile network operator to tap into bountiful potential as the media market shifts towards digital content and targeted advertising.



Beware Of The Privacy Threats Posed By IoT Devices

Read original story on: New York Times

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday reported that Internet-connected devices presented “serious data security and privacy risks”, urging companies to make data protection a top priority. The announcement came just after Verizon’s supercookie—embedded unique user identifiers that are undeletable—made headlines last week for the privacy threats it poses for customers.

In both cases, the main security and privacy threats originate from non-consented access to and sale of personal data by third-party devices or apps. As estimated by Gartner Research, around 4.9 billion connected devices for consumers, enterprises, and utilities will be in use this year, generating a vast amount of personal and company data that need to be properly protected and regulated.

Update 1/30/2014: NYT reports that Verizon Wireless has decided to make a major revision to allow users to completely opt-out of its “supercookies”.

Verizon Enters Auto Aftermarket

Read original story on: CNET

Verizon announced its first entry into the auto aftermarket with Verizon Vehicle, an aftermarket service that can work with virtually any car, connected or not. It will reportedly provide diagnostic services, roadside assistance and a hotline to mechanic support. As the auto industry continues to incorporate mobile technology, we expect to see more telecom companies to follow suit.


Verizon Entering Sharing Economy With Car-Sharing App

The sharing economy is undoubtedly on the rise, with its global revenue set to hit $335 billion by 2025. Now Verizon wants a piece of the growing market too. The telecom giant has announced its plan to launch, later this year, a mobile app to connect independent car owners and rental agencies with would-be drivers on the go. The rising popularity of on-demand car-sharing has led to the recent successes of ride sharing apps such as Lyft and Uber, but Verizon has bigger plans—it is said to be expanding the platform to other connected resources in the sharing network.

Verizon Plans To Introduce Internet-Based TV Service

Watch out, Netflix! Your archrival Verizon might be entering your turf soon. The telecom giant is reportedly working on an Internet-based TV service will arrive sometime in mid-2015. Most significantly, the service would adopt the “a la carte” model and let users freely customize their channel subscription. If implemented as such, this might just be the next stage of the cord-cutting movement.

Verizon Strikes Back At Netflix Over Streaming Congestion

In the on-going feud between OTT content providers and Internet service providers over who is responsible for low streaming speed, the ISPs — oft-reviled cable and telephone companies — make convenient villains. But after receiving a public shaming from Netflix, Verizon has decided to point the finger right back at the dominating streaming service. It accuses Netflix for “purposely select congested routes”, which Netflix has denied, so as to manipulate the ISPs to cover the cost of upgrading their infrastructure, while essentially blaming the humongous Internet traffic caused by Netflix on its vast popularity.

But taking a step back, it’s easy to see the bottom-line here: congestion at the interconnection point is in fact controlled by ISPs like Verizon. And if the customers are paying the their ISPs monthly to stream Netflix at a decent speed, then no other excuses would be valid for ISPs to jettison that responsibility. Maybe the ISPs are conveniently villainous for good reasons after all.

AT&T And Verizon Offer Hyper-Targeted Deals

Carriers AT&T and Verizon are sitting on some of the most valuable consumer data available so it’s not surprising their creating their own marketing services. AT&T’s offering, called AT&T Alerts will deliver location-based SMS offers while Verizon is leveraging location, demographics and browsing history to deliver personalized deals. Both products require users to opt-in, given the sensitive user data and recent privacy concerns like the Carrier IQ incident.